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For other uses, see Pancake (disambiguation). Pancakes with strawberries and cream with powdered sugar, as served in Australia Scottish pancake and fruit crumpet Crêpe opened

A pancake is a thin, flat cake prepared from a batter and cooked on a hot griddle or frying pan. Most pancakes are quick breads; some use a yeast-raised or fermented batter. Most pancakes are cooked one side on a griddle and flipped partway through to cook the other side. A crêpe is a very thin pancake cooked on one or both sides that is rolled and stuffed. Depending on the region, pancakes may be served at any time, with a variety of toppings or fillings including jam, fruit, syrup or meat.



The Middle English word Pancake, appears in an English culinary manuscript 1430.[1][2]

Regional varieties

United Kingdom

English pancakes have three key ingredients: plain flour, eggs, and milk. The batter is runny and forms a thin layer on the bottom of the frying pan when the pan is tilted. It may form some bubbles during cooking, which results in a pale pancake with dark spots where the bubbles were, but the pancake does not rise. English pancakes are similar to French crêpes, and Italian crespelle, but are not ``lacy`` in appearance. They may be eaten as a sweet dessert with the traditional topping of lemon juice and sugar, drizzled with golden syrup, or wrapped around savory stuffings and eaten as a main course. Yorkshire pudding is made from a similar recipe, but baked instead of fried. This batter rises because the air beaten into the batter expands, without the need for baking powder; the result is eaten as part of the traditional roast beef dinner.

Scottish (Ulster) pancakes, known as drop scones, pancakes or griddle cakes, are more like the American type and are served as such. Scottish pancakes are made from self-raising flour, eggs, sugar and milk. Welsh recipes also have sugar, but are cooked thin as the English variety — sometimes these will be in the form of small cakes as opposed to the full pan-sized version, especially when served at breakfast.

Smaller pancakes (about 3.5 in / 9 cm in diameter) are known in the UK as Scotch pancakes or drop-scones (after the traditional method of dropping batter onto a griddle (a girdle in Northumberland or in Scots)), and in northern England as pikelets. They can be served with jam and cream or just with butter. In Scotland pancakes are served at teatime (lunch or 4 o'clock) but mostly as breakfast. They are made plain and as fruit pancakes with raisins. Made to a similar recipe are crumpets. These are cooked on the griddle on one side until browned, then lightly cooked on the other side.[3]

North America

North Americans (The United States and Canada) sometimes style pancakes with banana slices. Raspberry chocolate chip pancakes from Vermont. Stacks of ``silver dollar`` pancakes.

American or Canadian pancakes (sometimes called hotcakes, griddlecakes, or flapjacks in the U.S.) are Scotch pancakes which contain a raising agent such as baking powder; proportions of eggs, flour, and milk or buttermilk create a thick batter. Sugar and spices such as cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg are added. This batter is ladled or poured onto a hot surface, and spreads to form a circle about ¼ or â…“ inch (1 cm) thick. The raising agent causes bubbles to rise to the uncooked side, when the pancake is flipped. These pancakes, very light in texture, are served at breakfast topped with maple syrup, butter, peanut butter, jelly, jam, fruit or honey. In the Southern United States, cane syrup and molasses have also been common toppings. Some pancake recipes call for yogurt to give the pancakes a semi-thick, relatively moist consistency.

North American pancakes can be made sweet or savory by adding ingredients such as blueberries, strawberries, cheese, bacon, bananas, apples or chocolate chips to the batter. In addition, some recipes add spices such as nutmeg or cinnamon, or flavoring agents such as vanilla extract. A ``silver dollar`` pancake refers to a pancake about three inches (7 cm) in diameter — these are served in portions of five or ten.

Sourdough was used by prospectors and pioneers to make sourdough pancakes without having to buy yeast. Prospectors would carry a pot of sourdough to make pancakes and bread as it could last indefinitely, needing only flour and water to replenish it.[4] Sourdough pancakes are now a particular speciality in Alaska.[5]

``German Pancakes`` or Dutch baby pancakes served in American pancake houses are bowl-shaped. They are eaten with lemons and powdered sugar, jam, or caramelized apples, as well as fritters.

Mexican hotcakes, are similar to US pancakes. Hotcakes are often made with cornmeal — as well as, or instead of wheat flour. Hotcakes are popular breakfast items at restaurants throughout the country, and are often sold by street vendors in cities and during the local celebrations of towns through the day; the vendors sell a single hotcake topped with different sauces such as condensed milk, fruit jam or a sweet goat milk spread called ``cajeta.``


Uttapam, an Indian style pancake with Sambhar. Dosa, prepared and served at a restaurant in India. Bánh xèo, a style of Vietnamese pancakes.

In India the Pooda (sometimes called Cheela) is a pancake. They can be made either sweet or salty and are of different thicknesses in different places. They are made in a frying pan and are of a similar batter as their European counterparts.

Dosa and Uttapam could be said to be another Indian pancakes. They are prepared by fermenting rice batter and split skinned urad bean (black lentil) blended with water. What Punjabis call a Meetha Pooda which are a common breakfast food item in the Punjab. It is a sweet pancake which can be eaten with pickles and chutney. Most of the pithas in Assam are type of pancakes served on occasions such as Bihu.

In Malaysia and Singapore, a pancake-like snack known as Apom Balik (in Malay) or Ban Chian Kuih (面煎粿 in Chinese). The Chinese version is made with a filling, traditionally ground peanut with sugar, butter and additional condiments such as sweetened coconut or egg. Increasingly non-traditional condiments such as cheese, kaya (egg and coconut milk custard), blueberry or chocolate are used in variations. There are other variations, such as those made with soya bean milk replacing egg and water. The Malay version (Apom Balik) frequently has sweet corn and condensed milk as filling.

In the Philippines, pancakes or ``hotcakes`` are also served with syrup (maple or imitation corn syrup) margarine and sugar or condensed milk. They are served for breakfast, but there are roving street stalls that sell smaller hotcakes topped with margarine and sugar as an afternoon snack.

In Vietnamese cuisine there is a variety of traditional pancakes; these include bánh xèo and bánh khọt in southern Vietnam, and bánh căn and bánh khoái in central Vietnam.

In Nepal, the Newar have a savory rice pancake called chataamari cooked with meat or eggs on top.

The Indonesian pancake serabi is made from rice flour and coconut milk.

In Korea, pancakes include jeon, pajeon, bindaetteok, kimchijeon, and hotteok.

Banana pancakes are a menu item in Western-oriented backpackers' cafes in Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, India, and China. This has elicited the term Banana Pancake Trail.


In Australia and New Zealand, small pancakes (about 75mm in diameter), known as pikelets are also eaten. They can be served with jam and cream or with lemon juice and sugar. They are made with milk, self-raising flour, eggs and a small amount of icing sugar. American style pancakes are also popular in Australasia. They are eaten as a dessert, with a topping of stewed fruits such as strawberries and cream, ice cream or mascarpone. In recent years, the Canadian dish of pancakes with bacon and maple syrup have become popular in Australian cafes. While a rise in households see pancakes served with whipped or spreadable butter, maple or golden syrup and fried slices of Devon or Bacon is commonplace.

Northern Europe

Pannekoek with bacon and Gouda cheese Palacinky, Slovak pancakes Swedish pancakes Kaiserschmarrn Palačinky, Czech pancakes

French crêpes, popular in France, Canada, and Brazil (where they may be called pancakes or crêpes) are made from flour, milk, and eggs. They are thin and are usually served with a large amount of sweet or savory filling, ranging from fruit or ice cream, to seafood (in Brazil, most usually ground meat).

A Breton galette is a large thin pancake made of buckwheat flour, mostly associated with the regions of Normandy and Brittany in France. It is often cooked on one side only.

German pancakes are called Pfannkuchen (Pfanne translates to English pan, Kuchen simply means cake). In some regions (Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxonia) pancakes are called Eierkuchen, as the term Pfannkuchen refers to Berliners there. In Swabia sliced pancake strips (Flädle) are often served in soup. A Berliner Pfannkuchen is not a pancake; it is a doughnut.

In the Netherlands and Flanders, pancakes are called pannenkoeken and eaten at dinnertime. Pancake restaurants are popular family restaurants and serve many varieties of sweet, savory, and stuffed pancakes. Pannekoeken are slightly thicker than crepes and usually quite large (12`` or more) in diameter. The batter is egg-based and the fillings can include sliced apples, cheese, ham, bacon, candied ginger and many other ingredients — alone or in combination — as well as ``stroop``, a thick syrup. One classical Dutch filling is a combination of bacon and stroop.

Poffertjes are another Dutch pancake-type dish. They resemble American pancakes somewhat, but are sweeter, and much smaller. The technique used also varies; they are flipped repeatedly before a side is completely done, in order to attain a softer interior.

Scandinavian pancakes are similar to the French crêpes. They are served with jam and whipped cream or ice cream as a main dish with a variety of savory fillings. Traditional Swedish variations can be exotic. Beside the usual thin pancakes which resembles the French crêpes and are eaten on Thursdays with pea soup, the Swedish cuisine has plättar which resemble tiny English pancakes, and are fried several at a time in a special pan. Others resemble German pancakes but include fried pork in the batter; these are baked in the oven. Potato pancakes called raggmunk contain shredded raw potato, and may contain other vegetables (sometimes the pancake batter is omitted, producing rårakor). Raggmunk and rårakor are traditionally eaten with pork rinds and lingonberry jam. A special Swedish pancake is saffron pancake from Gotland, made with saffron and rice, baked in the oven. Norwegians like their pancakes with sugar or blueberry jam, and they are often served with hot soup. Norwegians eat a great deal of rice pudding or porridge - leftovers from this can be made into small pancakes called ``lapper``. An other special ``swedish pancake´´ is the äggakaka (eggcake), also called skånsk äggakaka (scanian eggcake),it is almost like an ordinary swedish pancake but it's a lot thicker and also a lot more difficult to make due to the risk of burning it. It's made in a fryingpan and is about 1½ to 2 inches thick and is served with lingonberries and bacon.

In Sweden and Finland, pancakes follow the pea soup traditionally eaten on Thursdays[citation needed].

Central and Eastern Europe

In Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia pancakes are called palatschinke, palačinka, and palacinka, respectively (plurals palatschinken, palačinky, palacinky). In countries of former Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, and Bosnia) they are called palačinka (plural palačinke). In these languages, the word derives from Latin placenta, meaning cake. These pancakes are thin and filled with apricot, plum, lingonberry, strawberry or apple jam, chocolate sauce or hazelnut spread. Kaiserschmarrn is an Austrian pancake including raisins, almonds, apple jam or small pieces of apple, split into pieces and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Home-made naleśniki filled with sweet white cheese (Poland)

In Hungary, pancakes called palacsinta (also derived from Latin placenta) are made from flour, milk or soda water, sugar and eggs. Sweet wine is added to the batter. The filling is jam, sugared and ground walnuts or poppy seeds, sugared cottage cheese, sugared cocoa or cinnamon powder, but meat and mushroom fillings are also used. Gundel palacsinta is an Hungarian pancake, stuffed with walnuts, zest, raisins and rum, served in chocolate sauce. The dish is often flambéed. The Hungarian pancakes are served as a main dish or as a dessert.

In Poland, thin crêpe-style pancakes are called naleśniki (pronounced naleshniki). Like any crêpe or blintz, they can be served with a variety of savory or sweet fillings as a main dish or a dessert. Sweet fillings include fresh fruits (e.g. bilberries), jams, and soft white cheese with sugar. Savory fillings include fried vegetables, fried chicken, minced meat, and a variety of added ingredients such as potatoes, mushrooms, cabbage, or ham. The Polish pancake was adopted by the Russian and the Ukrainian cuisines, which call them nalesniki.[6]

In Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, pancakes may be breakfast food, appetizer, main course, or even dessert. Blintzes (Russian: блинчики blinchiki) are thin crepes made without yeast. Blini (Russian: блины) are thicker pancakes made from wheat or buckwheat flour, butter, eggs, and milk, with yeast added to the batter. Blini cooking has a long history in Russia, dating back to pagan traditions and feasts, which are reflected in today's ``pancake week`` celebrated in the winter before the Great Lent. Small thick pancakes made from yogurt or buttermilk based batter (without yeast) are called oladyi (оладьи) (diminutive: oladushki оладушки, further abbreviated as ladushki ладушки).


Pancakes in South Africa are similar to English pancakes. They are traditionally prepared by the Afrikaans community on gas stoves, and called pannekoek in Afrikaans, eaten on wet and cold days. Pannekoek are served with cinnamon-flavored sugar (and sometimes lemon juice); the sugar may be left to dissolve onto the pancake; if eaten immediately the pancake is crispy. It is a staple at Dutch Reformed Church fetes.[7] American-style ``silver dollar`` pancakes are eaten in South Africa, as ``plaatkoekies`` or ``flapjacks``.

Pancake restaurant chains

An IHOP restaurant in Poughkeepsie, New York

In the US, Mexico and Canada, a franchised restaurant chain named International House of Pancakes (IHOP) has restaurants serving pancakes at all hours of the day. The Original Pancake House is another chain of pancake restaurants across the US, and Walker Brothers is a series of pancake houses in the Chicago area that developed as a franchised spin-off of The Original Pancake House.

The popularity of pancakes in Australia has spawned the Pancake Parlour and Pancakes on the Rocks franchised restaurants. In British Columbia and Alberta, the restaurant chain De Dutch serves Dutch- and Flemish-style pannenkoeken.

Pancake Day

Main article: Shrove Tuesday

In Canada,[8] the United Kingdom,[9] Ireland,[10] and Australia,[11] pancakes are traditionally eaten on Shrove Tuesday, which is also known as ``Pancake Day`` and, particularly in Ireland, as ``Pancake Tuesday``. (Shrove Tuesday is better known in the United States, France and other countries as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday.) Historically, pancakes were made on Shrove Tuesday so that the last of the fatty and rich foods could be used up before Lent.

Charity and school events are organized on Pancake Day: in a ``pancake race`` each participant carries a pancake in a frying pan. All runners must toss their pancakes as they run and catch them in the frying pan. This event is said to have originated in Olney, England in 1444 when a housewife was still busy frying pancakes to eat before the Lenten fast when she heard the bells of St Peter and St Paul's Church calling her to the Shriving Service. Eager to get to church, she ran out of her house still holding the frying pan complete with pancake, and still wearing her apron and headscarf.[citation needed] Pancake Day is widely celebrated in Australia; ready-made pancake mixes often sell out.

Every Shrove Tuesday since 1950 the towns of Olney[12] and Liberal, Kansas have competed in the International Pancake Race. Only local women may compete; they race, and their times are compared to determine the international winner. In Olney the main women's race is augmented by races for local schoolchildren and for men.

The Rehab UK Parliamentary Pancake Race takes place every Shrove Tuesday, with teams from the British lower house (the House of Commons), the upper house (the House of Lords), and the Fourth Estate, contending for the title of Parliamentary Pancake Race Champions. The fun relay race is to raise awareness of the work of the national brain injury charity, Rehab UK, and the needs of people with acquired brain injury. In 2009, the Lords won.[13]

See also

Food portal Dorayaki French Toast            Injera Johnnycake Okonomiyaki Pannekoek Waffle Banana Pancake Trail Bánh xèo



^ ^ ^ Travel Scotland - Recipes – Scotch Pancakes, Tour Scotland, Ayrshire Pancakes ^ Ridgwell, Jenny Finding Out About Food OUP Oxford (30 Jun 1983) ISBN 978-0198327165 p.89 ^ DuFresne, Jim; Aaron Sprizter Alaska Lonely Planet Publications; 6th Revised edition edition (1 April 2006) ISBN 978-1740599917 p.40 ^ Nalesniki in V.V. Pokhlebkin's Culinary Dictionary, 2002 (Russian) ^ ^ ``The Presbyterian Church in Canada`` (PDF). The Presbyterian Church in Canada.  ^ ``Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday), in the UK``. British Embassy, Washington D.C.. Retrieved 17 November 2006.  ^ ``Shrove Tuesday - Pancake Day!``. Irish Culture and Customs. Retrieved 17 November 2006.  ^ ``Easter in Australia``. The Australian Government Culture and Recreation Portal. Retrieved 17 November 2006.  ^ Olney Pancake Race 2007 Video ^ Peers batter MPs in pancake race, BBC News, 24 February 2009,, retrieved 2009-05-18 

Further reading

Albala, Ken (2008). Pancake: A Global History. Reaktion Books. pp. 128. ISBN 9781861893925. [1]

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Pancakes Wikibooks Cookbook has a recipe/module on Pancake History of the Olney, England pancake race - History of the pancake